An outdoor lesson about human-bear coexistence
Location: Fagaras Mountains – Romania,
Story by: Relu Nica
Relu Nica is a former mountain lifeguard and now works as a survival instructor in the Fagaras Mountains in the Southern Carpathians. For him it’s all about ecological education to enable coexistence. Through the survival trainings he tries to teach the participants a respect for nature and for the inhabitants of the forest.
I teach survival courses and try to get people closer to nature. The balance between man and nature has broken. It is no longer ok. We must turn back to nature, as much as possible.
In recent years, due to overpopulation, the interaction between man and bear has become inevitable. Many people are not aware that the bear is actually a wild, dangerous animal. And they get to give him food on the roadside. That is totally, totally wrong.
Living in the same area between humans and large carnivores became a very difficult thing. Why? Because people no longer have the ecological education, they no longer have the education towards nature, unfortunately. We no longer know how to respect nature in any way.
The bear has no sense of ownership. He doesn’t care that the chocolate in your pocket is yours. For him it is a chocolate that walks through the forest. And he’ll come and get his food from your pocket or your backpack. And from there to the bullet.. to the complaints “let’s bring the hunters or the gendarmes to shoot the bear because he was aggressive towards the people it’s not far away anymore.
I teach my students and those I take to the mountains not to fight nature, but how to understand it, how to interact with it and how to return to it. They are very pleased to find real traces of large animals.
The groups we’re forming do not allow us immediate observation, that is, to actually meet the animals. Because if we go 10 or 7 people, we talk, we make noises, and our smells go with us. Animals would run away.
Good photo hunting means going solo, or with one https://youtu.be/aXomCHNK4mQcompanion. Today you can earn more from photo hunting than from animal hunting.
During the outdoor trips, the instructor teaches hikers how to prevent unwanted encounters with bears and also how to behave when accidental encounters happen.
We still have lots of work to do when it comes to changing attitudes. For me, large carnivores are an indispensable presence in the forest and a treasure that must be protected. There are many solutions to reduce the risk of unwanted meetings, which some people have successfully applied and can share with others.